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October 2011

Cassie’s Column – October 2011

Henry and PinguPingu-helps-with-the-xray
Pingu helps out with the X-RayRonnieOctoberRonnie!

Wow- The summer seems to have gone so quick this year and uni has started again which means my on-going relationship with the M53 is back in full swing!

Around this time of year I always tend to give the horses a bit of time off before clipping and carrying on through winter. They usually get two to three weeks depending on how much university work I have. I think it’s really important for them to have some free time while the days are still fairly mild and then it will be time to clip and bring out the dreaded winter rugs.

Not only are they enjoying the time off, but I am too, as I also managed to get myself injured when I was hit on the head by a horse, causing concussion – Ouch! Luckily this has settled down now.

Unfortunately though, the bad luck did not seem to stop there…

Poppy was just not herself…
Poppy started to resent work a little towards the end of the summer and I knew something was not right – she has never been a nappy horse, just over enthusiastic. I got Simon to have a look at her as I felt she was not really using her back as normal and was occasionally feeling a little lame. She had also become quite aggravated whilst I was tacking her up.

We did a lameness work up and x-rayed her back. The result of the back x-rays showed that she has a condition called kissing spines.

What is Kissing Spines?
Kissing spines is also known as impingement of the dorsal spinous processes. This is basically when the summit of the back vertebrae are very close/rubbing, ie. ‘kissing’. Poppy only has one space where this is occurring. You can see this on the x-ray I’ve included.

Thoroughbreds are generally narrower in this area anyway – some horses may have narrowed spaces and be quite normal, but for others it may cause a problem. To determine if it is the problem related to the symptoms she showed, Simon injected local anaesthetic around this area and she was then worked. The result showed an improvement in action, performance and temperament.

There are many different treatments for this – Poppy has been given a corticosteroid injection into this area to reduce the inflammation and pain associated with her condition. When she comes back into work after her two weeks off we will hopefully see a huge improvement.

Back to the good stuff…
Henry is still chuffed with his claim to fame in Your Horse magazine. We were all very proud to see him looking so well in a national magazine. As I’m sure people with veterans know, it takes a lot of effort to keep them going and products such as Mollichaff Veteran make this a lot easier.

Ronnie the joker
Ronnie settled in well. His riding and fitness is progressing– I will include some pictures next time! He’s quite the practical joker, though. His tricks include dragging all the other horses’ rugs into his stable and then lying on them, as well as picking up his feed bucket and throwing it either at me or David… which definitely wakes me up first thing!

Fluffy Mud Monster
David is having a bit of a break too and he’s making the most of it as he’s gone from being sleek and white to fluffy and brown. Like a typical pony, his coat tends to grow a lot, so he also has a full clip for the winter. It’s definitely one of my favourite jobs as he looks so young when clipped – but I end up looking like a sheep!

My other friends with four legs…
Ronnie-and-David-1Our cats, Pingu and Peaches, have been feeling a little left out with all this attention the horses are getting. After all, they provide the horses with a very good service – pest control in the feed room! Not only that but Pingu is very good friends with Henry and also sees herself as a bit of an equine vet! Check out the picture of Pingu and Henry in the field and also of her giving a second opinion on Poppy’s x-rays!

So next time I write, winter will officially be upon us, the horses will be clipped and back in work and hopefully I won’t be snowed in like last year…

I’m also planning to include a little bit on COPD – an airway problem which David suffers from, and the benefits of feeding HorseHage for this condition, especially during the winter months when horses are stabled more.

Take care and happy clipping!

Cassie and co xxx